Austereo AGM hears of $42 million profit but uncertain future outlook

Peter Harview was re-elected as Chairman of Austereo at its Annual General Meeting today as the company announced a profit after tax of $41.9 million.

Like Southern Cross (see other story), Austereo’s view on cross media law changes, discussed at the AGM, is that change would be “beneficial.” But the company says it is pointless to speculate about future outcomes under any new Cross-Media law regime, because “it remains to be seen how this scenario will unfold.”

In his chairman’s address Peter Harvey said:

“Austereo took the changing radio market conditions in its stride. The group held its place as the most successful capital city radio operation in Australia, in audience, sales and profits terms.

I congratulate our CEO Michael Anderson, programming director Geoff Allis, CFO Cathy Gramp and the Austereo team for their great efforts.

The company achieved 42% of the under 40 audience in the last survey… [and] conceded very little ground in total audience share for the year.

The audience results flow through to a solid sales outcome, with sales revenues increasing over the previous year to $240.4 million… the EBIT result of $71.2 million declined 5.6%, but focus on EBITDA margins saw them maintained at a world-class 32%. Profit after tax of $41.9 million similar to that of the previous year of $43.9 million…

At last year’s AGM, I stated that the board had determined “to reinvigorate triple M.” We have delivered on that commitment to our shareholders… The strategy of creative rebuilding is now also being applied to the Today network brands in each city.

Austereo’s Malaysia and involvement continued its successful growth path… [and] in Athens, Village 88 was the leading international station and number three music station…

The commercial radio industry is a great and growing force in the media world. In the six months to June 2004, radio’s share of advertising was 9.3%, up from 8.9% in the previous corresponding period. This augurs well for the future…

In a statement issued for October 2004… Austereo advised that “at this early stage it is anticipated that the profit after tax for the full year may be close to the prior year, however of the company believes that at this time it is difficult to assess the full year position with any certainty” … that statement remains appropriate.”

Also re-elected at the AGM was Rick Kirby.